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April 10, 2012

Consumer Law

Buying and Using Software

Can you copy software legally?

Software is a commodity that costs money to produce. Its producers are as entitled to payment as the producers of cars, food and shelter. The fact that there is no direct cost to the producer if someone makes an illegal copy of the software does not change this legal and moral fact. (There are indirect costs to unauthorized copying, starting with the lost revenue to the developer.)

Illegally copying software is no more legitimate than copying videotapes, books or musical recordings. For that matter, it is no more legitimate than stealing an apple—a costly apple—from the front of the grocer's store simply because you can, or cashing someone else's paycheck. You should be no more ready to steal software than to steal anything else.

>>Can you copy software legally?
>>What legal terms govern your use of software?
>>What limitations are usually placed on how you use software?
>>Do you have a right to make backup copies?
>>How can you protect yourself as a software consumer?

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